India hosts the ODI Cricket World Cup. Will it be an encore?

The 2023 ODI World Cup is here! Sensational and salivating to even think about how India will put up a show as the host nation and have the Team that may be now touted as the favourite to lift the trophy at home again. Given Team India’s recent stellar performances at the Asia Cup and vs Australia, these are some positives to take into the global event.

Come, Sunday November 19th 2023, we will have a deserved winner lift the coveted trophy at the glorious Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad. What a scene that would make!

But, what’s life without some prophecy, drama, suspense and of course opinions based on the analytical number crunching and the respective individual player’s and team’s winning form leading up to this much awaited global event.

Bear in mind, due to so much cricket these days, almost all participating teams are carrying massive injuries coming into their world cup campaigns. It will be challenging to keep bodies and minds fully fit as each team travels the length and breadth of the Incredible Indian topography. From Dharamsala to Chennai, the ODI World Cup will have varied and demanding playing conditions for each team management. Only the fittest shall survive till the 48th game of the tournament to lift the coveted global trophy.

As Indians, we wish this can be an encore fairy tale ending, just like we had in 2011. Back then it was all about Sachin Tendulkar and this time it’s about bidding adieu to the two long serving batting goliaths of Indian cricket. Will Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma, who shall surely not continue until the 2027 event, lift the cup for India this year?

Does the Team in Blue have it in them to go all the way?

Rohit will have to lead from the front

Well, Rohit Sharma as the Captain of the Indian Team knows how to lift trophies for sure. With the Mumbai Indians he’s been there and done that many a times. But, this is something else on the International stage. India has only won the World Cup two times until now (1983 & 2011). Both times the Captains, Kapil Dev and MS Dhoni were lauded as they led from the front throughout the competition.

For all the die-hard Indian fans, let’s first talk about the exciting facets to the Indian team that’ll bring glee to each cricketing fans’ soul. After which we will let a bit of logic take over and assess the leaks within the bucket that will also need to plugged if we are to lift the cup.

What does the Indian ODI batting form look like?

India has a new batting poster boy. A global #1 ODI batter in the ICC Rankings in the making. One that will stay right there too. He’s a knight that is shining brighter by the day and in his armour, he seems invincible in the way he is batting currently.

Shubman Gill is scoring runs for fun at the moment at an average above 70. The pitch type, bowling attack, ground size, home or away conditions, nothing matters. He’s hit a purple patch that stands in great stead to cement his place.

Here’s an interesting way to interpret the table above. Rohit Sharma is India’s second highest run scorer, this with half the runs scored as opposed to Shubman Gill. Prodigy kid making it look ‘for real’.

Virat Kohli, Ishan Kishen & KL Rahul taking care of the middle order will be the backbones for India. Do not discount them. Their numbers look dwarfed when compared to the leader of the pack, but their batting averages are envious at 55, 40 and 65 respectively.

The one to watch out for

If Shreyas Iyer has his say on the campaign, India will get uplifted to an invincible state. The middle order will be like going through a brick wall. How his back does through this competition will determine that. The way he is striking the ball is super, just that consistent runs have illuded him, or so we think. If you really put it into perspective, he’s not had a free run with the bat due to his injuries. Wishing to see him really come out there all guns blazing. If he can repeat the form shown while amassing the century performance vs Australia lately, India have a super star down the order.

The Finisher in KL Rahul

Not too long ago he was being slayed by the media and the public for his performances. The minor slump got amplified as just kept getting injured throughout the international and IPL calendar. We almost forgot how Rahul had wowed us over the years. Have a look at KL Rahul batting down the order at Number 4 & 5 for India within the ODI format so far. How can we forget the mesmerizing 52 (38) he recently got at Indore vs Australia a few days ago. The finisher in KL Rahul is screaming aloud and suggesting where he should bat for India this world cup. And, oh yeah, do you really think he’s been out of form?

What does the Indian ODI bowling form look like?

Who would have guessed a year ago that you’d see a member of the “Kul-Cha” gang, and it would not be Chahal, but rather the Chinaman in Kuldeep Yadav. Wow. Has he had an awesome year with the white ball or what. The numbers below do all the talking.

Kuldeep is delivering two wickets per game as an average in layman terms. Which is quite a thing if done consistently. Not languishing too far behind is the ‘Miaan’ from Hyderabad in Mohd. Siraj who’s crushed Sri Lanka at home soil in the Asia Cup final. Count his devastating bowling out at your own peril. Add some more masala to the pace attack with the magic of Boom Boom Bumrah & Mohd Shami and you have a reasonably lethal spin and pace battery.

The Reality Check on the 2023 Indian Team Contingent

But, before you get too excited with the bowling or batting, let’s look at some key facts and numbers that will startle your thought process and put you into a neutral zone before you mentally already position India to be the eventual champs.

Left is NOT Right for the Men in Blue as of now

Left Arm pacers are performing menacing devastation to Indian the top order batters. India will face the likes of Mitchell Starc, Shaheen Afridi, Trent Boult, Shoriful Islam, Jsh Little amongst so many others up front.

Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli in particular have their work cut out as the cricketing world prepares to battle it out against Team India.

The woes continue against Left Arm Spinners as well who are licking their lips thinking about the chance to bowl on Indian soil where it grips and turns. Majority of the Indian batters are seen struggling against spin lately on Indian surfaces across formats.

However, it’s worth noting that King Kohli since 2021 can be taken down by the likes of Shakib-Al-Hasan, Dunith Wellalage or Nawaz. He will be tested on turning surfaces, especially when it’s a slow worn-out track in the chase.

Let’s further look into some worrying numbers

Is India way too TOP Heavy with the Bat?

Since 2020, India has been very top heavy with the Top 6 batters doing the job on a consistent basis. This is very much the same with teams such as Pakistan & South Africa lately as well.

While it is great to have the top order perform so well. The worrisome thing here is that over the previous few years India, Pakistan and SA are also most vulnerable and non-dependable teams as well for crunch matches. We have seen all these three teams crumble under pressure when the top order is dislodged very early in the game.

Is India lacking Quality All Rounders?

We have the likes of Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel (most likely out injured for this entire ICC WC) & Shardul Thakur at our disposal.

Ravinder Jadeja is hailed to be one of the star All Rounders for India in this upcoming World Cup. But, he doesn’t have a 50+ score since 2022. Yes, he just recently earned himself a 3 wicket haul against the Aussies at Indore last week, but that’s not much of a consolation. Let’s look at some of his batting numbers since the last 18 months in the ODI Format.

But let’s just to a basic comparison to the current reigning World Cup champs England squad and their All Round Options:

Moeen Ali, Sam Curran, Liam Livingstone, Joe Root, Ben Stokes, Reece Topley, David Willey, Chris Woakes.

This is a worrisome issue for India as there will be times that the Indian bowling and batting attack will need depth and more than one back up plan on certain tracks.

Is India ready to choose Form over Reputation?

With the bat, the Team India management will have to give Strike Rates more prominence than just a regular 50 scored at run a ball on the Indian tracks at the top of the order. We must be logically brave to drop some big names during this campaign if we fail to score big on the Indian tracks that’ll be on offer.

Similarly, with the ball Team India must look at current wicket taking form with spinners and the pacers alike. As a team, India does have backups. The Team in Blue must put country first over owing any player undue opportunity, be it with the bat or the ball.

Lastly, Not everything has to be RIGHT!

Little of No variation in the Bowling is a major concern.

India has gone with NO Left arm Pace Bowler in their armoury. They could have included Chetan Sakariya , Kuldeep Sen, Arshdeep Singh, Moshin Khan or Khaleel Ahmed in the squad to have the variety. Interesting move. Can come back to hurt Team India.

Not to forget, we have yet again not included Yuzvendra Chahal, the Leggie. R. Ashwin despite his recent heroics against the Aussies can still a big gamble in comparison one feels. Chahal could’ve taken the ball away with his wily wrists against the right handers and varied speed very well on Indian tracks and been miserly too. This is a big miss yet again one feels. Is Team India repeating the mistake it has done before in the previous ICC Global events by shunning Chahal away? Time will tell.

After all It’s INDIA and the Team in Blue. There’s got to be far more positives to this year’s campaign. Of course, saved the Best for the Last!

Why & How can Team India WIN this World Cup!

  •  Home Fans are going to be one of the biggest strengths for India within this event. India will bounce back strong and fast given the reverberating energy within the grounds.
  •  Advantage of Home Venues. India will decide the tracks they want to bat on in each venue against a specific opposition. That is hugely in favour of the home nation.
  •  The Batting has clicked lately like never before. The entire bench strength is also piling on the runs whenever they get the chance.
  •  India might not have a diverse bowling attack but they have the best bowling average this year (Against top 10 teams)

India’s Trump Cards

  •  KL Rahul & Shreyas Iyer have the game against spin in the middle order and that will be very important. They are smashing the ball outside of the stadia at will. Both their stability and then the finishing role could have a telling impact on this World Cup.
  •  Kuldeep’s wicket taking ability will ensure India’s control in the middle overs.
  •  Pace battery of Shami, Bumrah & Siraj is formidable. They take wickets in bulk.
  •  Hardik Pandya needs to come to the fore. We need him to be the main All Rounder this year and allow India to play the extra spinner on many tracks.


Sam is an ex-cricketer having played for Singapore U23’s and at a semi professional level in England in the 1990’s. He is a cricke-preneur working on the online & offline space in partnership with stalwarts such as Mickey Arthur.



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